How To Make Small Spaces Live Larger
Do you have tiny rooms or small spaces in your home? In this post we will learn how to make them look larger and live larger too. Get lots of tips for making the most of small spaces.
Is there a room in your home that has less space than you would like? Would you would love it to be bigger? Well, you may not be able to knock down a wall but you can make your small spaces live larger! Yes, you can! Today I’m sharing valuable tips to make those small rooms seem more spacious!
HOW TO MAKE SMALL ROOMS LIVE LARGE
Just to be clear we are talking about small spaces you want to appear larger and live that way too. We are not talking about those gloriously tiny “jewel box” rooms that revel in being small and different.
So let’s get started with my very favorite tips that will really make a small room look larger and uses the space wisely.
CONTROL THE CLUTTER
Decluttering a small room and controlling the clutter is such an important thing to do in a small area. Clutter not only takes up real space, but it also has a visual weight that makes clutter look bigger and worse than it is. Especially in a small room!
Keep clutter at bay by picking up everything that does not belong in a room… often! Clutter is a magnet for more clutter so if you do not keep on it, it will multiply!
Even belongings that we use in a small room like books and magazines can look messy and very noticeable! I like to stash these types of things in my favorite storage, baskets!
Baskets work as double-duty decor! They look pretty and they keep clutter under control!
Here are a few more ideas for keeping small spaces organized and clutter free…
- use baskets and/or bins for coralling items
- have a designated home for everything and don’t put anything in your small area that does not belong there
- several times a day do a check of your small rooms to make sure they are tidy
- before leaving your room straighten up anything out of place.
LIGHT COLORED WALLS AND A TIGHT COLOR PALETTE
The very best tip I can give anyone with a small area whose goal is for it to look and live bigger is to paint the walls a light neutral color. Darker colors in a small room give it a cozy but closed-in feel. A lighter hue on the walls and ceiling will make small spaces expand.
If this smaller space extends into another space make sure the rooms are painted the same color.
LIGHT VS DARK PAINT IN SMALL SPACES
In our home the sunroom is small. I would love it to be twice the size but that is not going to happen! Our family and extended family love this room!
I painted the sunroom the same color as the rest of our home. It just made sense since our home is so open. And the soft white of Simply White by Benjamin Moore is a pretty paint color that does not detract from the view outside our windows.
Right now the trend is toward moody and darker colors. That might look nice in a study when you want a room to look cozy and like that small space feel, but not for a room with a lot of windows.
Painting the sunroom in light neutral tones makes it feel larger and airy. Just imagine how different it would look if it were painted any other color!
ABOUT THE COFFEE TABLE AND END TABLES
One of the things we did in our sunroom to make it look larger is to match the coffee table and end tables. The wood also is a light color that worked within our neutral color palette.
I never thought I would have matchy-matchy furniture. Been there and swore I would never to do that again. However, it was one of the smartest things I did in this room.
The coffee table is apartment size so it does not take up a lot of space. And although I tried three other wood end tables with the coffee table they all looked heavy. And heavy is not the look I was going for in this small room!
So I ordered the matching end tables (YIKES) with great angst thinking I could return them because I was sure I would not like the look at all! But to my delight, these end tables worked perfectly in our small sunroom!
These matching pieces are a win/win in our sunroom because…
- the light color of the coffee table and end tables means they have less visual weight
- the color works well with our color palette and they don’t call attention to themselves
- because they match our eyes see them as one unit
- they are a great proportion for the room
TEXTURE, TEXTURE, TEXTURE IN A SMALL ROOM
This is a tip to use for any tight color scheme decorating but especially in a small area. Texture is what will give a neutral color palette lots of interest and life without adding visual weight to small spaces.
Our eyes can “feel” texture and it translates as interesting and becoming. And who does not want a room that is interesting and becoming?
Texture equals interest. This is good to remember when decorating any room.
Items like the nubby basket, ribbed pitcher, and burlap trim on the pillows and books are all great examples of texture. And using texture makes a big difference in how small rooms look and feel.
PERFECTLY PROPORTIONED FURNITURE FOR SMALL SPACES
Small space living needs the right furnishing to make look and feel larger!
This is very important! The worst kind of furniture you can put in a small space is petite, delicate pieces or overstuffed, oversized ones.
Petite furniture will just emphasize how small your room is! And trying to stuff big rolled arm chairs, a big armoire, or expansive bookcases will make the room look uncomfortable and unwelcomingly cramped.
There is quite a subtle dance when working with small room proportions. A small room needs the right size furnishings! Take a lesson for the genuis decorator, Goldilocks! Furniture in a small room needs to be “just right”!
You might like to read WHY SCALE AND PROPORTION IS IMPORTANT WHEN DECORATING
Our sunroom’s sofa is long, to accommodate the long back wall but has a low profile back and tailored swoop arms. It also does not have a skirt, which makes it look less chunky and heavy!
The chair in this room is an oldie but goodie. It has an ample seat but a slimmed-down profile. I’m waiting for a swivel chair to replace the one in the picture below. It will be so nice to swivel the chair around to watch something on the tv. Hopefully we will have it in time for Christmas!
Did you notice the tv? To save floor space we hung it on the wall. Another smart tip for small spaces.
Here are some things to keep in mind…
- Show lots of leg. Keep skirted furniture for bigger rooms
- Use regular size furniture with sleeker lines
- Think about SCALE. Furniture that is too big or too tiny will look odd in a small room.
- Don’t over decorate. Use fewer pieces of furniture in a small room.
You might want to see HOW TO USE SCALE AND PROPORTION IN DECORATING.
In a small room, floor space is at a premium! So adding lots and lots of accent furniture is not the way to go!
Keep things like coffee tables, accent chairs, end tables, side tables, buffets, consoles, and any other pieces of furniture that have legs to a minimum. Anything that sits on the floor takes up precious space!
Just use what you need and nothing extra.
Because the square feet in small spaces are so precious don’t waste them on extra furniture.
A small room benefits from some accent decor like a mirror or lamp or arrangement or other decorative items being a bit on the larger size.
I have a decorating mantra I say all the time, Less is more, and bigger is better! These are words to decorate small spaces with!
That does not mean that all the accent decor in a room should be big. Highlighting a larger piece of art or a vase of flowers in a small space gives it importance. Our eyes are drawn to it.
Our lamps that flank the sofa are wide. And they are a deep charcoal color wire brushed to let gold highlight underneath shine through. This makes them look large and heavy for this room. A good thing since they ground this room filled with light colors and give our eyes something to rest on.
On the coffee table, I put a rustic white vase of drying hydrangeas! I think it is the focal point of the room. Even small rooms need a focal point.
Less is also best when using accent decor in a room too! Not every surface must be covered with decor! Use a light hand!
LOTS OF LIGHT AND MINIMAL WINDOW TREATMENTS
Rooms on the smaller side need lots of light to make them feel more spacious. If your small room has windows make sure the window treatments are very basic. Fancy or fussy window treatments will make a small area look heavy! No fluff and swags and excessive trim.
Hang curtains as high as possible and let them kiss the floor. This will make your ceilings look taller and your windows too!
In our sunroom, we have lots of windows. So light is not a problem. But this room needed a bit of softness so I chose just two curtain panels to flank the middle windows in the room. And we hung them almost to the top of the wall before it goes into a cathedral ceiling.
If your room has limited windows or none at all then flood this room with lighting from a few sources. Overhead, table, and task lighting should be used to create pools of overlapping light.
ADD A MIRROR
Adding a mirror can fool the eye and make a small room look bigger. The ideal place to hang a small room is…
- perpendicular to a window so the view reflects into a room
- across from a focal point so the mirror reflects the focal point
- across from an open door to reflect what lies beyond the door
One of the biggest mistakes people make when decorating a small space is putting too much into it! When you don’t have the square footage remember to edit, edit, edit!
That’s true of the furnishings, art, and accessories!
Make sure a small room has negative space. Negative space means pockets of space with nothing in them. When some of the space in your room is empty it makes it look more spacious and it helps it to live larger too! It’s just easier to move around!
The sunroom has three walls with lots of windows and a big opening to the dining area. It looks bigger because it is not closed in by a fourth wall. There is lots of negative space in this room.
It has lots of breathing room because I’ve kept the furnishing minimal and low profile.
OTHER IDEAS FOR CREATING SMALL SPACES THAT LIVE LARGER
Go vertical! Use that vertical space on your walls (if you have it) to add shelves which are wonderful small space solutions for storage! And think about adding hooks to the back of the door to hold items like decorative throws!
Think about buying coffee tables and end tables with drawers to stash things in.
A storage ottoman in place of a coffee table would work great in a small room like our sunroom. It’s all about having enough storage space for your needs!
I hope this has given you lots of tips for living large in a small room in your home!
YOU MIGHT LIKE THESE DECORATING POSTS…
HOW TO MIX WARM AND COOL COLORS IN DECOR
TIPS FOR UPDATING A LIVING ROOM
HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT PAINT COLOR
I have been re-binging the DTT podcast from the beginning as I make all the final decisions for a house my husband and I are building for our five kids aged 4-18, and I just wanted to say how much I appreciate and love what you add to those first few hundred episodes!! I realized yesterday that I don’t have to miss you, I can subscribe to get your emails and this morning these tips for what to do with a small room was a little gift in my inbox!! It was just what I needed to help with my sufficatingly small living room in our new build (that I am working toward embracing and loving 🥰). I’m hoping to make that room as light and airy and beautiful as you’ve made your sunroom! Thank you for spreading your knowledge, joy and love!!
So happy to hear you subscribed!!! Yay!
Thank you for always having valuable information, I read your blog daily and I always learn something new !! Love love love your style. I strive to emulate you in my new fixer upper!
You are so welcome!
I love the windows that bring in all the natural light.The neutral colors are so calming and cozy.I remember you bought a sectional for the room,what did you do with it ??
We liked the sectional very much but I wanted to change the orientation of the room and opted for a low profile long sofa. My son and his family are very happy they now have the sectional.
I love everything about this room? Can you tell me where you got the coffee table and end tables as well as the rug? Thank you!
Hi Jeanine, here is the coffee table:https://rstyle.me/+7a-R-N9MvWJCfF528fPK-w
and the coffee tables here:https://rstyle.me/+rr0MGVlbwWm7ZfJoXkt7Hg
Could you please link your area rug in your sunroom? It is beautiful
Can you please link where your pillows can be ordered?
Christie, go get the gray pillows quick! Two for $13.99! Here’s the link:https://rstyle.me/+HtU3dFGV73lOZC7t-5oZ1g The other pillow I’ve had for years and have not source. Sorry!
Gorgeous. Love the tips. Can you provide source for vases and lamps.
I loved your article on How to Make Small Spaces Live Larger. Can you please tell me where you bought your rug in your sunroom? And what brand/name of this rug is? I have been searching for a rug with these colors! Thank you!
That rug is very popular. I found it on erugsales.com but it is out of stock. Sorry!
This is such a helpful article. So many of us are dealing with managing in smaller spaces. All of your ideas are genius! Thanks for sharing these thoughts with us. My question is what is the brand and model of your long sofa?
The sofa is from Ethan Allen. You can see it here:https://www.ethanallen.com/en_US/shop-furniture-living-room-sofas-fabric/arcata-sofa%2C-quick-ship/arcataquickship.html#start=1
Hi Yvonne…love all your rooms/decor….can you please share the link for your lightweight curtains? Thank you!
Oh, you will LOVE these curtains! Here you go:https://rstyle.me/+wROjfEIur4sarXmg8oVY1Q
I had to go back to this post, especially since we now are downsizing. I can hardly believe all the stuff we have acquired over the past 20+ years. This post is helping me so much. I been having problems making our now very small spaces look large. Thanks to this post, I think I just might be able to solve some of my issues
Yay! I’m thrilled this post helped you. God bless you in your new downsized home.